Bipolar disorder most commonly is diagnosed in persons between 18 and 24 years of age. The clinical presentations of this disorder are broad and include mania, hypomania and psychosis. Frequently associated comorbid conditions include substance abuse and anxiety disorders. Patients with acute mania must be evaluated urgently. Effective mood stabilizers include lithium, valproic acid and carbamazepine. A comprehensive management program, including collaboration between the patient's family physician and psychiatrist, should be implemented to optimize medical care.